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I 29.88/3:T 22/2 

rail of Tears 

^National Historic Trail 

Certification Guide 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 

Certification Guide 

Trail of Tears 
National Historic Trail 


JAN 11 1995 

Prepared by: 

National Park Service 

Long Distance Trails Group Office 

P.O. Box 728 

Santa Fe, NM 87504-0728 

September, 1994 

The cover illustration is derived from Robert Lindneux's The Trail of Tears 
and is used courtesy of Woolaroc Museum, Bartlesville, Oklahoma. 

Dear Trail of Tears Landowner or Manager: 

Historic resources associated with the 
Trail of Tears abound on non-federal 
lands. As an owner or manager of a site, 
segment, or complementary interpretive 
facility along the Trail of Tears, you may 
want to consider becoming a partner with 
the National Park Service by certifying 
your site as an official part of the Trail of 
Tears National Historic Trail. 

It's not the National Park Service's 
intention to directly solicit participation in 
the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail 
certification program — but you may find 
it intriguing and rewarding. The success 
of the Trail of Tears National Historic 
Trail depends upon voluntary grassroots 
initiative and participation by landowners, 
communities, and others along the Trail. 

Before explaining the certification 
process, let's clarify the difference 
between the "Trail of Tears" and the 
"Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. 
"The "Trail of Tears" refers to both the 
event and the several routes followed by 

the Cherokee Indians during their forced 
removal from their ancestral lands to 
Indian Territory. It is also sometimes 
used to describe the events and routes 
followed by other American Indian tribes 
who were also forcibly removed from 
their lands. 

Congress has designated an overland 
route and the water route followed by the 
Cherokee during their 1838-1839 removal 
as the alignment to be recognized as the 
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. 
Along this alignment, resources on 
federal lands which can be documented to 
have a direct association with the event 
and the route (such as Trail segments in 
the Shawnee National Forest) become 
federally protected components of the 
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. In 
addition, authentic Trail resources located 
on private or non-federal lands may be 
certified and subsequently incorporated 
into the Trail of Tears National Historic 

All components of the Trail of Tears 
must meet national historic trail criteria 
before they can be considered for 
inclusion in the Trail of Tears National 
Historic Trail. 

In this guide (and in other Trail of Tears 
National Historic Trail materials), you'll 
frequently come upon the terms "site," 
"segment," and "complementary 
interpretive facility." Here are a few 

♦ A site is a specific location where 
Trail of Tears-related resources 
exist today (for example, a 
building or the remains of a 
building; a camp site, grave site, 
or the location of a significant 
event; or a route segment less 
than V2 mile in length). 

♦ A segment is a route that the 
Trail of Tears followed that is at 
least V2 mile long. (For example, 
if we know that the Trail of Tears 
followed a certain ridge, then the 
ridge-top would be considered a 
segment of the Trail, even if 
evidence of the original Trail no 
longer remains.) Where the 

original route cannot be defined, 
it is possible to establish com- 
memorative trails for appropriate 
use such as hiking or bicycling. 

♦ A complementary interpretive 

facility is a museum, visitor 
center, or other educational 
facility along the general Trail 
corridor where the story of the 
Trail of Tears is interpreted (for 
example, a historical society 
museum in a county that the Trail 
passes through that provides 
exhibits or otherwise tells the 
story of the Trail of Tears). These 
facilities fall into two categories: 
1) Cherokee, state, or federally 
(non-National Park Service) 
constructed, operated, or 
substantially supported 
interpretive and educational 
centers; and 2) city, county, or 
regional nonprofit interpretive and 
educational centers. 

Please remember that just because a 
resource has not been certified does not 
mean that it is not a significant historic 
property associated with the Trail of 
Tears. Now, let's talk about certification. 

What is certification ? 

When you certify your Trail of Tears 
site, segment, or complementary 

interpretive facility, it becomes an official 
part of the National Historic Trail. 

Certification is a type of cooperative 
agreement with the National Park 
Service, but it is not a legal contract. 
Rather, it is a good-faith expression of 
mutual expectations and interests. 

Certification is completely voluntary, and 
can be terminated by either party, if 
necessary. You see, certification is, first 
and foremost, a partnership. 

What are the criteria for certification ? 

To be certified as part of the Trail of 
Tears National Historic Trail, your site or 
segment should meet the following 
general criteria. (Most Trail of Tears sites 
and segments already meet many of 

♦ It should have at least one 
significant and direct tie to the 
Trail of Tears, be along the Trail 
of Tears National Historic Trail 
routes, and be suitable and 
available for reasonable public 
access. There should be some 
historic resource value and/or an 
opportunity for significant 
interpretation of historic Trail of 
Tears resources. 

♦ Owner/managers need to agree to 
manage it to protect its resources, 
and to provide for suitable public 

♦ Certification and subsequent 
actions on the site, segment, or 
complementary interpretive 
facility must comply with 

applicable state, local, and federal 
laws (for example, environmental 
laws, public health and safety 
requirements, equal employment 
opportunity laws, federal 
handicapped accessibility laws), 
which we'll discuss later under 
the section on compliance. 

Although the criteria listed above will be 
met by all sites that are certified as Trail 
of Tears National Historic Trail sites, 
some aspects of each certification 
agreement will be tailored to the specific 
nature and management needs of your 
Trail site, and your needs as the 
owner /manager. For example, some sites 
may need intensive management and 
maintenance to protect the properties. 
Others can be visited and appreciated just 
as they are, with virtually nothing being 
done. If you own or manage a site on a 
remote, undeveloped part of your 
property, you may allow relatively 
unrestricted access. If your site is near 
your house, you may want to let people 
visit the site only at certain times, or 
under certain conditions. 

The certification of complementary 
interpretive facilities is based on the 
ability to meet a number of criteria. 
These include providing accurate, 
effectively presented interpretive 
information to visitors; a staff with 
knowledge of Trail history and 
interpretive techniques; a clean, well- 
maintained, and orderly facility that meets 

applicable local, state, and federal 
regulations for health and safety, equal 
employment opportunity, and environ- 
mental compliance; and accessibility for 
the disabled. Facilities that are associated 
with actual Trail resources should 
complement those resources. Trail 
artifacts should be properly displayed, 
handled, and protected. 

Can Trail of Tears memorials be certified ? 

The emphasis of the Trail of Tears 
National Historic Trail is on preserving 
the Trail and telling the story of this 
tragic part of our nation's history. 
Certification is designed for Trail sites 
and segments and interpretive facilities, 
some of which may contain memorials. A 
number of communities along the Trail 
have built memorials to commemorate the 
Trail of Tears, and several new 
memorials have been proposed. We do 
not certify memorials, as such, but rather 
consider them part of the overall site or 

The Cherokee people and the Trail of 
Tears National Historic Trail Advisory 
Council have expressed the concern that 
any new memorials be carefully 
considered. As with all Trail 

interpretation/education, we will be 
consulting with the Cherokee Nation and 
the Eastern Band of Cherokee regarding 
the appropriateness of proposed 
memorials and interpretation at Trail 
sites. We will not certify a site unless its 
memorials, interpretation, and other site 
developments are in good taste, of highest 
quality, and meet the goals and standards 
of the Trail of Tears National Historic 

Preserving the actual Trail and its 
resources and providing quality 
interpretation of the Trail story can be 
exceptionally effective in gaining public 
understanding and appreciation of the 
Trail of Tears. It may well be the best 
way to commemorate those who endured 
the Trail of Tears, and their descendants. 

What are the benefits of certification 

As the owner/manager of an officially 
certified Trail of Tears National Historic 
Trail property, you'll be able to take 
advantage of many opportunities that you 
wouldn't have access to otherwise: 

♦ Protection/interpretation: 
National Park Service certification 
standards provide for a high level 
of protection and interpretation 
for certified Trail of Tears 
National Historic Trail properties. 
Our mission as the Nation's 
leading conservation agency 
emphasizes protection of cultural 
and natural resources — and, as 
your partners, we and the Trail of 
Tears Association can help advise 
you about good protection. We 
also emphasize appropriate visitor 
use, and an important part of 
visitor use is what we call 
"interpretation"— which is how 
(and where and why) we 
communicate the "story" behind a 
particular place, person, or event. 
There are many ways of 
interpreting your Trail resources, 
and we will be happy to offer 
advice in this area. 

♦ Recognition: Certification can 
bring a strong and favorable 

public image through recognition 
of your generous efforts to 
preserve resources and provide 
for appropriate public use. Many 
people are interested in the 
history of the Trail of Tears. 
Certification will let people know 
that your property is part of a 
nationally significant trail, and 
that protection, interpretation, and 
public use all meet the high 
standards of quality that the 
American people have come to 
expect of National Park Service 

Local communities can achieve 
recognition for supporting the 
Trail, too. Members of 
communities, especially 
school-children, can benefit from 
the civic pride that comes with 
recognition and increased 
knowledge of their local history 
resulting from certification. 
Certification can also support and 
halp justify local efforts to obtain 
grants for historic preservation 
and other civic projects. 

Certified Trail of Tears National 
Historic Trail properties are 
marked with full-color, official 

Trail-marker signs provided by 
the National Park Service (with 
the distinctive logo shown on the 
cover of this certification guide). 
The logo immediately enables 
people to identify sites, segments 
or facilities as official components 
of the Trail of Tears National 
Historic Trail, as well as 
indicating that they're being 
managed to the highest standards 
under your stewardship. Future 
publications, exhibits, and other 
informational/interpretive tools 
will also carry this Trail symbol. 
Certified Trail properties will be 
included in Trail interpretive, 
educational, and informational 
programs, and other media 
projects being planned for 
national distribution. 

Technical Assistance: When your 
Trail of Tears site or segment is 
certified, the National Park 
Service can provide technical 
assistance in areas such as historic 
preservation, archeological 
protection, architecture, 
engineering, landscape 
architecture, planning, 
maintenance, trail-building, and 
interpretation. At the very least, 
we can review your plans, and 
provide expert comments and 
suggestions for improving them. 

In some cases, we may be able to 
come to your site to provide 
expertise (for instance, an 
archeologist might do a survey of 
the area, or a historical architect 
might evaluate a building's 
rehabilitation needs). The extent 
to which the National Park 
Service can provide assistance 
will vary, depending upon the 
needs of the site, and personnel 
and funding limits. We also have 
contacts with others — experts 
from state and other federal 
agencies, volunteer experts from 
the private sector, and other 
landowners and managers — who 
are our partners on the Trail and 
have the knowledge to assist. 

Other Benefits: You may find 
other advantages involved in 
certification. For instance, if you 
become a volunteer through the 
National Park Service Volunteers- 
in-Parks (VIP) program, you may 
become eligible for tax deductions 
for some expenses in accordance 
with federal and state tax codes. 
(Note: Although we can tell you 
how to obtain information about 
the tax benefits of volunteering, 
we're not permitted or qualified 
to provide tax advice.) Through 
the use of the VIP program, the 
National Park Service may also 

be able to provide tools, 
equipment, and supplies for Trail 
of Tears National Historic Trail 
projects at certified properties. In 
some cases, the National Park 
Service may also be able to 
provide limited financial 
assistance to qualifying groups 
and individuals. This might be 
cost-share grants for the 
development of cultural and 
natural resource management 
activities, visitor use 

developments, and interpretation. 
It's also possible that the ability 
of a non-profit group to raise 
funds for historic preservation and 
visitor use projects can be greatly 
enhanced by the status a property 
will gain by becoming part of a 
national program. And the 
rehabilitation of qualifying 
historic buildings may provide tax 
incentives to owners under the 
Economic Recovery Tax Act of 

Are there costs involved in certification ? 

You'll find that there aren't any direct 
costs involved in developing certification 
agreements. Projects resulting from action 
plans developed out of certification 
agreements will, of course, have costs 
attached. However, it's not the intention 
of the Trail of Tears National Historic 
Trail certification program that certifying 
partners be required to incur any personal 
costs (unless they wish to make a 
donation). Rather, the program 
encourages the use of volunteers — as 

well as donations from individuals, 
groups, and corporations — in the 
implementation of plans for preservation 
and public use of sites or segments. Costs 
for these action-plan projects for 
organizations and agencies is often 
already a part of their planning and 
budget process. Because certification is a 
partnership, you won't be in it alone. 
We'll work to help you obtain the 
resources needed to protect your site and 
provide for quality visitor experiences. 

What will my personal liability be if I certify 

If your Trail of Tears site, segment, or 
complementary interpretive facility is 
certified as a component of the Trail of 

Tears National Historic Trail, it should be 
made available for appropriate public use. 
Where people can go, what they can do, 

when they can visit the site, and other 
specifics will be spelled out in the 
certification agreement. You may be 
interested to learn that virtually all states 
that the Trail of Tears runs through 
have laws protecting landowners who 
allow public use of their lands for 
recreational purposes . We'll make 
information about these laws available to 
you during the certification process. If 
necessary, the National Park Service can 
enroll private landowners as volunteers 
(under the Volunteers-in-Parks program 

mentioned earlier), which would cover 
actions taken by volunteers within the 
scope of the certification agreement under 
the Federal Tort Claims Act, and, if 
applicable, under Workmen's 
Compensation laws. Actions taken outside 
the scope of state laws and volunteer 
agreements would not be covered. We'll 
discuss the extent of this coverage with 
you during certification. (A note here: 
Sorry, but National Park Service staff 
can't give you legal advice.) 

Certification involves "compliance." What does this mean 

Don't be put off by this formal-sounding 
term. When stripped of its formal 
trappings, compliance offers an 
opportunity for us all to ensure that 
natural and cultural resources of the Trail 
of Tears receive the best possible 
protection. Compliance is a very positive 
step for actions taken under certification 
agreements. It enables us to help you 
achieve the same high standards of 
resource stewardship for your property 
that we apply in traditional National Park 
Service units. 

process in motion that evaluates what 
effects the trail might have on natural and 
cultural resources in the area. Compliance 
people from the National Park Service, 
State Historic Preservation Office, and 
other agencies will look over the 
proposed trail plan and identify potential 
impacts (such as erosion, or damage to 
possible archeological sites). If needed, 
we will propose ways of eliminating 
impacts or reducing them to an acceptable 
level. This will all be backed up by good 

Here's an example of compliance in 
action: Let's say that we all agree that a 
paved trail for visitors is needed at your 
site. Before any work is done, the 
National Park Service will set a formal 

As in any partnership, everyone involved 
will have a role in accomplishing 
compliance. Decisions as to how this will 
be done will be part of the certification 
process, and later, if needed, the site 

planning process. Organizations and 
agencies will have more responsibilities 
than private landowners. When all is 
completed, everyone can feel confident 
that we have complied with the provisions 
of resources protection and other laws 
such as the National Environmental 
Policy Act, the National Historic 
Preservation Act, and the Architectural 
Barriers Act. 

Please rest assured that private 
landowners won't be asked to comply 
with the laws mentioned previously in the 
course of regular day-to-day activities on 
their lands (mowing the grass, grazing 
cattle, growing crops, and so forth). 
Compliance will apply only within the 
scope of your certification agreement. But 
you will be asked to consult with the 
National Park Service regarding any 
activities you undertake mat could 
adversely affect the certified resources of 
your property. This will give us the 
opportunity to comment and provide 
advice about how to meet your needs 
while also avoiding any changes in the 
values that made your Trail of Tears 
property eligible for certification in the 

Who can apply for certification ? 

first place. (Here's an example: Let's say 
you want to build a new farm road near, 
but not on, your Trail of Tears property. 
We would want to consult with you to 
make sure that water runoff, dust from 
farm vehicles, and other possible impacts 
don't adversely affect the site or visitor 
enjoyment.) Too, in our certification 
agreement, and any other planning, we 
may wish to monitor your site for any 
potential damage from the activities 
taking place on and around it. 

If you are already planning actions that 
might have an impact on your historic site 
or segment, and you think you are 
interested in pursuing certification in the 
future, it would be prudent to contact us 
now. An action that changes the historic 
resources or the surrounding landscape 
could inadvertently alter the resource and 
interpretive values that make the area 
eligible for certification. Such an action 
could also jeopardize other recognition 
such as placement on the National 
Register of Historic Places. We will 
happily consult with you early to ensure 
that your actions will not compromise 
eligibility for later certification. 

Anyone who owns or manages a non- 
federal Trail site, segment, or interpretive 
facility that meets the criteria we've 

mentioned can request certification — a 
private landowner, an organization, or 
state or local government. 

If you request certification, you should 
have the authority to manage the site. 
(For instance, a non-profit Trail group 
can't request certification for a site owned 
by a private individual without that 
individual's permission.) Private 
landowners can choose to manage the 

Trail property themselves, or they can 
delegate the authority to manage and 
protect it to a non-profit group. We can 
provide you with more information about 
a variety of ways you can accomplish this 
"delegation," depending on your personal 

How do I apply for certification ? 

If you think you might be interested in 
entering into a certification agreement 
with the National Park Service, begin by 
contacting the National Park Service at 
the address listed at the end of this 
certification guide. We'll be happy to 
explain the process, and answer any 
questions you might have. During initial 
discussions, we may need to visit your 
site and talk to you in detail about your 
needs. Afterward, if your site appears to 
meet certification criteria, we'll send you 
a draft certification agreement that will 
become the basis for any further 
discussions. Negotiation is a friendly, 

interesting, and normal part of the 
certification process. 

If you decide to submit an application, 
sending along the following information 
and documentation related to your Trail 
property will be very helpful: maps, 
showing location and details; 
specifications (size, resources, and 
facilities); a description of your area's 
historical relationship to the Trail; area 
photographs or drawings; and any written 
plans, brochures, and the like. Submitting 
an application in no way obligates you to 
continue with certification. 

How long is certification valid ? 

An initial certification agreement term 
extends from two to five years, depending 
upon individual property circumstances 
and what's required to maintain the terms 
of the agreement. Initially, a shorter 

period will be set for those properties 
undergoing changes and development. 
This shorter period will accommodate any 
review and revision of the terms of the 
agreement that may be needed. 

It's important to mention again that 
certification agreements are not legal 
contracts. As good-faith expressions of 
mutual expectations and interests, they're 
completely voluntary, and subject to 
termination by either party at any time. 
For instance, it's possible that the 
National Park Service could terminate a 
certification agreement if it believes that 
resources have been adversely impacted, 
or that there appears to be a clear 
disregard of the terms of the certification. 
In such cases, as partners, we would 
work together to identify and solve 
problems early on. Please rest assured 
that the National Park Service will be 

understanding if some terms cannot be 
met, so long as a reasonable effort was 
made to meet them, or factors beyond 
anyone's control prevented action. We'll 
be asking for your patience and 
forbearance, too, if for some reason it 
turns out that we can't do all that we have 
proposed, or the process takes longer than 
we had all hoped. (If you should 
encounter a serious problem at some 
point, and consider canceling 
certification, we'd appreciate your giving 
us at least a couple of months notice, so 
we can work to eliminate the problem, 
and possibly keep your certification 

Why is the National Park Service using certification agreements 
instead of acquiring these properties for a park ? 

Certification is unique to the National 
Trails System. The National Trails 
System Act (1968) provides an innovative 
mechanism to protect trail routes, 
properties, and the rights of individual 
landowners, without requiring large 
expenditures of money to acquire land. 
The National Park Service will emphasize 
this grassroots management of the Trail 
of Tears National Historic Trail, as 
Congress directed. If you decide to enter 
into a certification agreement, you'll still 
retain all legal rights to your land and 

Acquisition of land or any interests in 
land for the Trail of Tears National 
Historic Trail by the National Park 
Service may only be on a willing-seller, 
willing-buyer basis. Such acquisition will 
only be considered for the most 
significant Trail properties when the 
owner and the National Park Service 
agree that this is the best method to 
protect these properties. In most cases, 
the National Park Service will help 
identify organizations that buy or accept 
donations of property for conservation 
purposes, such as land trusts. 

Remember, the National Trails System 
will work best when grassroots ownership 

and management of Trail resources is the 
primary emphasis. 

Are there other ways to protect my site, segment, or complementary interpretive 
facility besides certification ? 

Private and public owners all over the 
Nation are using many different methods 
for protecting America's cultural and 
natural resource heritage. For instance, 
they're using "tools" like leasehold 
agreements, and donations or sales of 
land or interests (such as easements) in 
lands containing resources. And, as 
mentioned earlier, you, as 
owner/manager, can work out delegation 
arrangements with private non-profit 
groups — or with local, state, or federal 
government agencies — and can do so in 
ways that allow you continued use of 
your land. Many of these alternative 
options can provide long-term protection 
that will ensure that the properties are 
protected well into the future, and keep 
ownership and management at the 
grassroots level. If you're interested in 

considering options other than — or in 
addition to — National Park Service 
certification, we'll be glad to discuss 
them with you and put you in touch with 
others knowledgeable in this area. 

Many Trail of Tears properties are 
currently on the National Register of 
Historic Places, or are designated as 
National Historic Landmarks. If you'd 
like to find out if your property is eligible 
for these national-recognition programs, 
contact the National Park Service office 
listed on the next page, or your State 
Historic Preservation Office. And please 
remember: Using certification with other 
land preservation techniques can provide 
even better long-term protection and 
ensure the highest possible standards of 

How can I find out more ? 

If you think that you want to certify your 
Trail property, we'll be glad to talk to 
you about what's involved. If you're not 
sure, we may be able to put you in touch 
with others who have already certified to 

find out how they feel about the process. 
And, as mentioned earlier, we can also 
give you information on other methods 
for providing long-term protection, such 
as leases, easements, and donations. 

Contact the National Park Service office 
below if you'd like a copy of the Trail of 
Tears National Historic Trail 
Comprehensive Management and Use 
Plan — or if you wish to be placed on 
our National Park Service mailing list for 
periodic newsletters — or if you have any 
questions on certification, or about the 
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail in 

The Trail of Tears Association is the 
major Trail-wide partner in preservation 
of the Trail, educating the public about 
the Trail of Tears and Indian removal, 
and fostering certification of Trail of 
Tears sites, segments, and complementary 
interpretive facilities as components of the 
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. 
We'd like to suggest that you contact 
them for information about supporting the 
Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and 
the Trail of Tears in general. 

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail 

National Park Service 

P.O. Box 728 

Santa Fe, NM 87504-0728 

505/ 988-6888 

Trail of Tears Association 
P.O. Box 2069 
Cherokee, NC 28719 
803/ 297-1881 




JAN 2 5 2004 

OCT 3 rectj 

DEMCO, INC. 38-2931